With approximately 7 in 10 people in the U.K now owning a smartphone, and an increase in sales of tablet devices, it comes as no surprise that many employers are taking advantage and introducing a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy into the workplace.

This cultural shift has shaken up the traditional 9-5 standard work mentality, which is increasingly becoming a thing of the past. Allowing employees to access and share various files and email accounts from a number of different devices can benefit employers greatly.

Not only can the initiative encourage productivity, with employees having the freedom to work on the commute to and from work, but also increases the likelihood of them working from home. But does BYOD offer a win-win situation for all involved?

To get to the bottom of it, file sharing company, EGNYTE, conducted a survey of 1,000 British workers of all ages, who use a mobile, laptop or tablet device in their line of work.

Working overtime
36.5% of respondents felt that a BOYD policy would make them feel obliged to work in their spare time, and 46.3% would feel that they would work more overtime as a result. Employees working overtime due to BYOD had differing opinions as to when and where this additional work would be conducted.

In a bid to maximise use of their time, 42.2% would carry out work on their device whilst commuting to the office. A sizeable 38.8% would happily work throughout their lunch break, and a 59.3% majority would work on their device from home. A surprising 9.6% showed workaholic tendencies, saying they would even conduct work whilst socialising, something many would consider a little extreme.

Age played a large factor when it came to overtime, with 70.1% of 18-25 year olds being most keen to put in the extra hours from their mobile device. This figure drops significantly for the 26-34 year old age bracket, with 50.2% happy to work additional hours, suggesting those most likely to be further into their careers with families of their own to worry about are less keen to commit.

Men vs women
The survey results certainly showed that men were more open to working extra hours in light of BYOD, which opens up the age old battle of the sexes can of worms, and poses several questions. Are men harder working, or are women simply more of the belief that you work to live, and don’t live to work? Childcare issues are almost certainly another factor affecting these differing opinions, with more women than men juggling a career with childcare.

25.2% of men were of the ilk that BYOD would make their working life easier, as opposed to just 15.5% of women. Nearly half of all men (49.9%) quizzed would work extra hours form their mobile device, with slightly less women (43.6%) happy to do so.

Security headache
While BYOD comes with a wealth of benefits, the issue of security has never been more urgent. As the digital world grows and expands, so indeed do the amount of online threats. Organisations have much less control as far as security is concerned on personal devices, and they can also not be sure which other family members may have access to the object. Factor in the risk of a device being stolen or an employee leaving as well, and you could end with an almighty security headache on your hands.

When it comes to online security, the younger generation are certainly savvier on the subject; 86.6% of this age bracket would take active care whilst perusing sensitive company data on their mobile device. 55-64 year olds were much more naïve, with a worrying 80% of respondents advising they would not be security conscious enough to stop any potential threats.

Is BYOD the right thing for my company?
There is no denying that done properly, BYOD can be a positive proposition for companies and the people it employs. Employees may have the opportunity to earn additional money in their own time, and can opt to work when it suits them, while employers can have a more efficient workforce.

In order to ensure a BYOD scheme does not have a detrimental affect overall, rules, regulations and security issues must all be clearly defined and addressed, so that all parties involved clearly know the boundaries. A ‘BYOD Acceptable Use Policy’ can clearly state for example, that employees may only access corporate for business use.

There are security measures in place that allow employees only to access limited information from an app facility, which can be password encrypted and backed up, minimising risk should the device be stolen. Anti-virus software is a must, especially given that the device is likely to utilise unsecured Wi-Fi sources.

It is also important to ensure that employees do not feel trapped by a BYOD policy, and that it is not having a negative impact on their personal life, and come to a reasonable agreement as to what is expected of them.

Customer Experience Magazine
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